Living the dream

When we celebrate the notion that anyone could become the next billionaire, we encourage this mass delusion that good times are always just around the corner.

We’re voting yes. But.

In this special mini-episode, John and Craig talk through the upcoming WGA strike authorization vote — what it actually means, and why they’re both voting yes.

We’ve had enough of these freeloading lottery winners

The American Health Care Act is only 122 pages long, yet seven of those pages are about making sure lottery winners don’t get Medicaid.

The reality of quote-unquote health insurance

After salaries, health insurance is our single biggest expense. It costs more than the servers. It costs more than the App Store’s 30% cut. It’s a lot.

On Neutrality

Lewis Wallace, the only transgender reporter working at public radio’s Marketplace, was fired for this blog post questioning whether journalistic neutrality was a futile ideal: Obviously, I can’t be neutral or centrist in a debate over my own humanity. The idea that I don’t have a right to exist is not an opinion, it is […]

A Refugee Story

In this bonus mini-episode, John talks with Nima Yousefi, the wizard behind Highland and Weekend Read, about his experience as an Iranian refugee, and his fears for the future in light of the travel ban.

You should run for office

From state legislatures to school boards, every one of the 519,682 elected offices in the United States affects people’s daily lives. You should run for one of them.

The Workaholics list of banned phrases

John Quaintance recently tweeted photos of two whiteboards listing phrases banned in the Workaholics writers’ room. His tweet has been widely shared, and is a mitzvah to all writers. These phrases are all clams — jokes that aren’t funny anymore and therefore need to die. When you include them in a script, you’re evoking the […]

This Feeling Will End

In this Scriptnotes Extra, Craig and John discuss the melting dread they experienced this morning and hopefully offer some succor.

The Gold Standard

In this special mini-episode, Craig and John tackle the gold standard and why economists think it’s a flat-out terrible idea.

No one cares about manufacturing costs

Amazon just wants to sell books. They truly don’t care how much they cost to make, and neither should we.

On error messages

Brent Simmons has straightforward advice on error messages: They should be of the form “Can’t x because of y.” A similar form is this: “Noun can’t x because y.” (As in “‘’ can’t be opened because it is from an unidentified developer.”) Badly-written dialog boxes make me lose faith in an app very quickly. Here’s […]

Final Draft, software and people

Final Draft reports abusive calls and emails that may have stemmed from Craig’s recent tirade on Scriptnotes. This is not okay at all.

Let’s make Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ better

Katy Perry’s “Roar” is a very successful song with a lyric couplet that drives me crazy.

Winning marriage in Washington State

Four states will be voting on marriage equality this November, and for a change, I think it’s worth winning this round. Washington is where I’m putting my money.

Phil Coulson and the failure of IMDb

If you click over to my IMDb profile, you’ll see two new projects: “Phil Coulson: Agent of Shield” and “Coulson’s Day Off.” I’m listed under the writer section, having contributed characters. Only I didn’t. At all.

The scorpion and the frog

There’s nothing wrong with the parable of the scorpion and the frog. But as screenwriters, let’s stop having characters actually recite it. It’s been done before. A lot. So now it feels like a hacky and desperate way to make villains seem cool by rationalizing their actions.

Smug ignorance

When you stir stupid and lazy together, they form a toxic compound called Smug Ignorance. It’s non-partisan and always fatal. The symptoms are phrases like, “I don’t know much about computers, but…” or “Look, no one knows if climate change is real.”

No trombones

We need to stop teaching kids to play the trombone. And the oboe. And the French horn. With the best of intentions, we’ve taught kids to be helpless cogs in a symphonic machine. Worse, we’ve created a system that pretty much guarantees most adults won’t be able to make music by themselves.

Hipster terrorism

Megan Amram shines a spotlight on one of my frustrations with this crop of post-collegiates, a kind of defensive detachment.

Stay away from this girl

Wait, how did I not know the Manic Pixie Dream Girl existed as a trope?

Two App Stores is one too many

We got an email this morning from a guy — let’s call him Bob — who wanted to check out FDX Reader, but couldn’t find it in the App Store. That’s because he was looking in the wrong App Store. And it’s not his fault, really.

Fucking pilots, cont’d

Broadcast networks basically want their own cable-quality shows, so they consciously (or subconsciously) gravitate towards writing they perceive as edgy, even though a lot of what attracted them will have to be excised.

Fucking pilots

I’m reading more network pilot scripts this year than in years past, so I can’t say whether this is a new trend or just something I was unaware of: What’s with all the swearing?

Denialism, and Toy Story 3

Can a review be wrong? Not just contrary to popular opinion, but genuinely untrue?